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20 the minnesota review Barbara Van Noord On Things To Hang On To, Like Bleach Seven years ago, in San Francisco teachers ran my daughter through earthquake drills, and we left a drop of Chlorox in the bottoms of bottles filled with water for her to drag to school. We're still alive, though habits die hard. In the basement whUe plastic bottles collect under the East Coast stairs, cobwebbed and doghaired, confused with a schoolyard expecting disaster. If nuclear air invades the street I figure we'll drink and die down there and wonder about the dogs, whether I'd let them share and what we'd do with the excrement and who'd go last, whether sheer loss and silence would drive whomever out the door. The fear of loneliness drove me to fill those bottles in San Francisco, the way the sky hardened so ice blue no one could write on it, the way the morning fog thickened all exit from personal space. The bottles hold it, down there in the debris, precarious safe place at the bottom of this home's old heart. ...


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